Azim Premji Foundation began its work in 2001 with a vision to contribute to a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. Our aim was to help improve the quality and equity of India’s public education system. In the last two decades, our work in education has grown manifold, and has expanded to span many dimensions of human well-being and development.
Azim Premji Foundation is funded by an endowment created by an irrevocable assignment of his personal wealth by Azim Premji, currently valued at INR 170,000 crores (USD 23 billion) as of 2021. The Foundation’s operations are in three units that work in tandem: Field Institutions, University, and Philanthropy.
The Field Institutions work to improve quality and equity in the public education system in close collaboration with state governments. This ranges from deep on-the-ground work in some of the most disadvantaged regions of the country, to policy and curriculum. Our efforts involve almost every aspect of school education: the capacity development of teachers, head teachers, and education functionaries, curricular improvement, textbook development, assessment reform and education policy.
There are 48 field institutes across 7 states (which have over 3,50,000 schools). Our Field Institutes operate 8 schools for “demonstration and training”. In addition to this extensive presence on the ground, the efforts of the Foundation in public education extend to multiple states, particularly in the north-eastern parts of the country, and to other states on matters of specific expertise in education.
Azim Premji University was setup in Bangalore in 2010 to serve the vision of the Foundation through significant interventions in higher education, including teaching and research. We are in the process of setting up a second university in Bhopal.
The University’s teaching and research programmes span a wide range of fields of human development, from school education, sustainability and governance, to law, public policy and public health. Our undergraduate programmes provide rigorous education in the full range of disciplines, from the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, to humanities and social sciences. The University’s activities are intended to:
- Prepare graduates with competence, integrity and social commitment.
- Expand knowledge in education, development and other fields of human development through research.
- Support and enhance the work of the education and development sectors in the country through continuing education.
- Contribute to change in policy and practice in the Indian education and development sectors through advocacy and public communication.
As an integral part of the Foundation, the University is an entirely philanthropic endeavour, and is thus able to provide extensive scholarships to students and run programmes which are critical to capacity creation and knowledge generation in fields of human development, but which cannot be financially self-sustaining.
Through philanthropic initiatives, we support other not-for-profit organisations (NPOs) through multi-year financial grants.
These NPOs work with the most vulnerable and marginalised people of our society: the homeless, persons with disability, women survivors of violence, farmers with marginal landholdings, and vulnerable tribal communities. To these vulnerable groups, the grants offer immediate care, access to essential services, and the possibility of a dignified future. We support ‘good people doing good work’, unfettered by notions of ‘is it eliminating root cause?’ This is simply because such good people do change the world, one at a time.
The Philanthropy engages in systematic collaboration with state governments and NPOs to address large humanitarian and development challenges. This includes reducing child malnutrition, preventing human trafficking, offering legal access to undertrials, improving gram panchayats and welfare delivery, and shifting to agroecological farming practices.